15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003


A Perceptual Study of Tenseness. Some Acoustic Cues Identifying Tense vs. Non-Tense Contrast in Berber

Omar Ouakrim

University of Agadir, Morocco

In Berber, tenseness is a phonological feature - not to be equated with voicing or gemination - which can be added to all consonants in any word position and context. This study investigates the perceptual parameter(s) cueing tense consonants (/C*/) vs their non-tense counterparts (/C/) in initial, medial and final position. We want to find out whether tenseness is cued by VOT or closure duration for stops, and by the duration or the intensity of the frication period for fricatives.
   The test perception results show that, in the case of /t/ vs /t*/, the closure duration is the only cue that differentiates phonemically tense from non-tense consonant in medial and final position. But in initial position the information is involved in VOT combined with the following vowel intensity. For fricatives, the perceptual phonemic cue is the duration of the consonantal frication independently of its position and context.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Ouakrim, Omar (2003): "A perceptual study of tenseness. some acoustic cues identifying tense vs. non-tense contrast in Berber", In ICPhS-15, 795-798.